How to register a company in Australia.

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How to register a company in Australia

Setting up a new business may be challenging for new investors as it requires preparation and must comply with Australia’s regulations. We have put together a brief guide on how to register a company in Australia.

Let’s dive in.

Step 1: Pre-registration

There are certain requirements that you must prepare and complete before you can successfully register the company with the related authorities.

This stage includes:

  • Choosing a company name
  • Deciding how the company will be governed
  • Deciding and appointing company officers

Selecting a company name

You need to check the availability of your desired company name to ensure that another company does not already use the name.

A name search can be conducted through the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) check name availability website.

There are certain stipulations that apply to naming a company.

The company name cannot be identical to an existing registered name, and it cannot contain words that could mislead people about your activities, for example, bank, trust, incorporated or royal.

Proposed company names that are considered offensive or suggest illegal activity are likely to be rejected.

Words and phrases that cannot be used without the government minister’s approval are:

  • Building society
  • Trust
  • University
  • Chamber of commerce

Company management and governance

A company in Australia can be governed by one of the following three:

  • Company constitution
  • Replaceable rules
  • A combination of both

A constitution is a document that outlines the rules governing the relationship between and activities of the company, its directors and shareholders. This document generally guides how meetings are run (both board meetings and members meetings), as well as a host of other procedural governance items.

If a company does not adopt a constitution, it can use the replaceable rules instead. Replaceable rules appear in the Corporations Act and provide basic rules for governing a company.

Deciding on company officers

A company must appoint at least one director and one public officer, both of whom must reside in Australia.

If the company decides to appoint a secretary, this person must also reside in Australia.

For a public company, at least two directors must ordinarily reside in Australia.

Step 2: Company registration

Once you have completed the above steps, you will then need to register your company to be able to begin commence business.

Registering your company with the local authority

Online company registration can be made through the Australian Government’s Business Registration Service (BRS).

The BRS combines company and tax registration which makes the process more straightforward and simpler.

Step 3: Post-registration

Once the company is incorporated, various other matters need to be undertaken, including:

  • Applying for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and Tax File Number (TFN) with the Australian Business Register (ABR)
  • Maintaining various statutory company registers
  • Nominating a Public Officer with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
  • Opening a bank account

What is required to commence trading in Australia?

Once you have established a new Australian company or registered as a foreign company, you will need an Australian Business Number (ABN) in order to commence trading.

An ABN is a unique 11-digit identification number that enables businesses in Australia to deal with a range of government departments and agencies.

Having an ABN will avoid payers withholding 46.5% tax from your payments. Your ABN must be displayed on your invoices.

Australian companies must also activate the following requirements in order to commence trading:

  • Open a business bank account with a bank that is licensed to operate in Australia.
  • Register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) if your GST turnover meets or exceeds the registration turnover threshold of AUD 75,000
  • Register for a company Tax File Number (TFN). This is a distinctive number issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to help manage tax and other government services. You apply for the TFN at the same time as you apply for the ABN.
  • Register for Pay as You Go (PAYG) Withholding if you intend to employ staff.

Conclusion

Setting up a business in Australia has several requirements that must be completed to set up a company successfully. Acclime is a professional in providing corporate services and is more than willing to help support you through the process of setting up a company in Australia.

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